UPfront: Insulated enterprise?

Managers and HR directors reckon Kiwi enterprises had an easier time of it last year than the rest of the world.

An end of year survey by recruitment specialist Robert Half Finance and Accounting asked what caused the biggest impact on their businesses in 2002 and only 31 percent of them identified the economic downturn. This paled in comparison with results from managers questioned in eight other surveyed countries. On average, nearly 55 percent of managers in those countries claimed the global slowdown had had the biggest impact on their business.

“The general outlook is that business growth is continuing into the New Year – almost the reverse trend of that currently being experienced by our Australian, European and US counterparts,” suggested Robert Half’s New Zealand manager Kim Smith.

“Feedback indicated strongly that although the global economic downturn has greatly impacted businesses worldwide last year, New Zealand has managed to sidestep many of the adverse knock-on effects and maintain positive business activity.”

When managers were asked about their main concern for this year, only 15 percent of Kiwis said they were concerned about turning their business around to its activity before the downturn compared with 23 percent of managers in the other countries surveyed. New Zealanders seem more concerned about what is happening domestically than external events, said Smith. “In New Zealand, almost half the sample said that domestic events had the biggest influence on their business, compared with global average of only 28.4 percent.” And when asked about the impact of recent conflict of interest cases in the United States and Europe, only 24 percent of our managers expressed less confidence in audit and consulting professionals, leaving nearly three quarters stating that the events had not affected their attitude.

“On the whole, the picture shows that Kiwis are achieving growth in tough market and maintaining positive outlook on the coming year,” said Smith.

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